Friday, January 19, 2018

In 'Scooby-Doo! & Batman: The Brave and the Bold', the Scooby Gang Helps Batman Tackle a New Villain and an Unsolved Case

The first movie of 2018 that I’ve watched is Scooby-Doo! & Batman: The Brave and the Bold.  It sees Batman recruiting the Scooby Gang into the “Mystery Analysts of Gotham”, a prestigious club of detective superheroes.  Subsequently, a mysterious new super villain arrives in Gotham going by the name of “Crimson Cloak”, who seemingly has ties to Batman’s one and only unsolved case.  Thus, Mystery Inc., Batman, and the other heroes must now collaborate to unmask this new threat.

A crossover between Batman and the Scooby Gang may seem somewhat baffling and irreconcilable, but it’s actually not.  Scooby-Doo has always been known for unlikely crossovers – from the 70’s The New Scooby-Doo Movies to some of the recent direct-to-video films.   Moreover, the incarnation of Batman for this crossover is from The Brave and the Bold, which has the tone and sensibilities that can accommodate this kind of crossover.  But most importantly, this isn’t even their first crossover.  They already had previously teamed up on two episodes of The New Scooby-Doo Movies (“The Dynamic Scooby-Doo Affair” and “The Caped Crusader Caper”) as well as an episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold (“Bat-Mite Presents: Batman's Strangest Cases!”).
Just like their previous crossovers, this also turned out being delightfully goofy.  The stylistic malleability of Batman lore is unparalleled, as it works well as either serious or light-hearted.  And thus, the Scooby-Doo comedic style meshes seamlessly with it.  There aren’t any noteworthy hilarious gags.  But the movie is consistently chuckles-and-smiles amusing.  It has a lot of quirky things to enjoy, like Aquaman masquerading as a Hercule Poirot-style detective and the Scooby Gang donning the encased costumes of the Bat-family.

Of course, for what it is, you don’t expect its narrative to be remarkably great, just competent and clever enough.  And that’s exactly what it is.  Certain Batman and Scooby-Doo tropes play out like clockwork.  It doesn’t have any surprising depths, and though there are attempts for some plot twists, they aren’t quite subversive.  Also, it even gets underwhelming at parts, though not too much that it takes one away from enjoying the movie.
Scooby-Doo! & Batman: The Brave and the Bold is a light, easy romp.  It’s fun for what it is.  And as the thirteenth Scooby-Doo! direct-to-video film, it’s probably the most entertaining for me among the recent ones.

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